BP’s plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight were punted back for the second time.
Australia’s ffshore oil and gas regulator, Nopsema, said BP would be able to revise and resubmit its plans, which were labelled secretive and weak by a Senate Inquiry.
A Nopsema spokesperson said: “Nopsema will typically provide two opportunities to modify and resubmit, but is not restricted to providing only two opportunities.”
A BP spokesperson added: “Nopsema has provided BP with a further ‘opportunity to modify and resubmit’ its environment plan, which is not a rejection but another step in the normal, iterative process with this regulator.
“We have allowed sufficient time in our programme schedule for this regulatory process and continue to work toward commencing exploration drilling in late 2016, subject to the acceptance of our environment plan.”
However, the managing director of Sea Shepherd Australia said the rebuke was s “sigh of relief”.
Jeff Hansen said: “The whales of the Great Australian Bight can breathe a slight sigh of relief today.
“Six years on, BP has still not cleaned up its catastrophic spill in the Gulf of Mexico, with mothers still giving birth to stillborn dolphin calves,” he said.
“If BP is allowed to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight, it’s not a question of if there will be an oil spill but when, and the Great Australian Bight is not worth the risk.”
The bight is located on Australia’s southern coastline. It supports a large fishing industry and much of it is covered by nature reserves.